The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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ISIS leader releases information to U.S. on chemical weapons

The United States Special Forces have begun airstrikes in northern Iraq after information was obtained relating to ISIS’ chemical weapons research program by a captured key leader in the terror organization, according to CNN.

Sleiman Daoud Al- Bakkar was captured a month ago during a raid in Badoosh, Iraq.  Al- Bakkar is said to have worked as an industrial engineer for former dictator Suddam Hussein’s military.

U.S. military officials believe that ISIS had not noticed Al- Bakkar’s capture due to his regular movement throughout Iraq.

It is not clear at the moment whether or not the airstrikes took out the entire necessary target.

Information from The Guardian states that ISIS was believed to have begun using chemical weapons since last summer in Syria, when Kurdish troops were reported to have been exposed to mustard gas. Mustard gas is known as a chemical warfare agent with the capacity to form large blisters on exposed skin and the lungs on contact.

Currently, there are 12 instances of ISIS using mustard gas.

Sophomore Kelly Mak believes that ISIS using chemical weapons is a “crime against humanity.”

“Chemical warfare could have such detrimental effects on society,” Mak said. “Chemical weapons leave and affect on both the land and the people in the area.”

Senior Jhose Escobar shared her concerns about how ISIS using chemical weapons could impact the civilians.

“ISIS is especially cruel in the fact that they take no consideration for the civilians that are affected by mustard gas,” she said. “Mustard gas can lead permanent damage on the people impacted. It is exactly why chemical weapons have been banned in warfare.”

Even with the new information about ISIS’ chemical weapons program, issues have been brought up as the how ISIS can be dealt effetely due to the types of chemicals they are producing.

Military analyst, Colonel Cedric Leighton expressed his concerns in an interview with CNN.

“It’s very difficult to take out the entire chemical capacity of ISIS because the types of chemicals they are using like mustard agent are ones that can be produced very easily,” he said.

CNN also reported that the U.S. stated that any ISIS operatives taken in by U.S. troops would only be held for a short period of time and then be handed over to either Iraqis or Kurdish troops.

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